St. Cloud youngster headed to Ireland for dance competition

St. Cloud resident Emily Thomas will be attending a dance competition in Ireland in spring of 2019 to represent the Central Florida Irish Dance School.

Emily Thomas is a St. Cloud resident, a third grade honor roll student at Hickory Tree Elementary and a competitive Irish dancer with Central Florida Irish Dance School.  

Emily is one of the youngest Central Florida Irish dancers to qualify for the An Chomhdhail World Championship in Ireland. She will be attending the competition in spring of 2019 to represent the Central Florida Irish Dance School.

Being of Irish and Italian descent, Michele DeFilippis, Emily’s mother, decided Irish dancing would be perfect for her daughter.  

When relocating from San Diego to Central Florida, Emily rapidly advanced her skills at her current school a few months later in August 2016. Her teacher, Sarah Costello, is a professional Irish dancer and musician from Belfast, Ireland, who has toured extensively worldwide with Irish Dance shows.

Emily completed her first Feis in January 2017, which is a traditional Gaelic arts and culture festival. She competed in Venice, Fla., where she achieved her first-ever An Comhdhail U.S. qualifier, and placed second in the under 10 age group, earning her place in the trip to Ireland. An Chomhdhail is the second largest Irish dancing organization  in the world.

“Emily’s future in Irish Dance is as bright as the thousands of sequins that shine on her dance costume,” said DeFilippis. “And, as she represents Central Florida in Ireland next April, the brightest twinkle of all will be the shine in her eyes as she does what she loves best.”

Solo Irish dance includes the most well-known form of Irish dance, Irish step dance, which was popularized from 1994 onwards by dance shows such as Riverdance, and which is practised competitively across the Irish diaspora. Step dance is characterized by the rigid upper body and intricate footwork of its performers.